Saturday, July 12, 2008
Hellboy II: The Golden Army
Gentle Reader – DO NOT READ THIS if you want to remain spoiler free.
Guillermo del Toro and Mike Mignola have stumbled onto a great little trilogy IF number 3 is made (“oh please – oh please – oh please”, Evil Chicken said crossing his fingers across his chest). Hellboy II: The Golden Army is worth the price of admission and it does something that so many sequels forget to do; continues to move the story along. This is not an introduction but a continuation. Big Red (Hellboy) is a demon summoned by the nazis during World War II who according to Wikipedia (my favorite second brain) says, “...who finds himself fighting for the U.S. government and himself against dark forces, in a series of tales that have their roots in both folklore and pulp fiction battling a range of enemies from Nazis to Baba Yaga.” Yeah… that’s about right. Oh also, you should know, Hellboy doesn’t like what he is or the plan for his life. He is destined to usher in the apocalypse, a fact that seriously conflicts him emotionally since his intentions are usually good. He becomes the poster child for free will – he knows what he is but he continually chooses to do what is right. As an outward sign of this he continuously has to file down the horns on his head.
Ok, that being said…
Hellboy II moves forward the story of Big Red (Anung un Rama), Abe Sapien (a telepathic merman) and Liz Sherman, Hellboy’s pyrokinetic (controls fire with her mind) girlfriend. Much has been happening at the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense (BPRD) since last we met the crew. Big Red is tired of hiding from the world in secret; Abe is about to fall in love and Liz (you remember this is a SPOILER LADEN blog, yes?) is pregnant and doesn’t know how to tell Big Red. Which is a shame since a long forgotten war is about to break out anew between the Elves & other mythkind and the humans. Guillermo has an eye for the fantastic – there is always something going on in Hellboy II; whether it’s the attack of the tooth fairies (yes, you read that right), the troll marketplace (which made me think of Harry Potter’s “Diagon Alley” on steroids), a battle with an elemental (that harkens to H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulu lore), a meeting with Big Red’s own personal Angel of Death or the goblin built Golden Army – the visuals are stunning and something that you really haven’t seen before. There are moments where Big Red is challenged after he revels himself to the outside world and is not really excepted. The reaction that he gets is not what he expected, after all he is the good guy. Prince Nuada (portrayed masterfully by Luke Gross) asks Big Red why he fights for the humans when he has so much more in common with the opposition. When faced with this question Hellboy does not have an immediate answer – save for the love of Liz which roots him to humanity. On some level he’s a teetering on the edge of accepting his destiny of ushering in the end of the world. In the end he has gained control over the unstoppable Golden Army so he’s got the tools and the talent to do so – the mediating factor is Liz, his anchor and soon to be mother of their twins.
Oh it begs for part three – an amazing end to a very well realized series. The third, if green lit, will reportedly be a “heartbreaker” (according to Mr. Del Toro). We have the end of the world, the birth of the twins and whatever happens with Liz and Big Red to look forward to. I hope that it gets made – the story deserves it. Part of me wishes that Guillermo would make Hellboy III before he moves onto "The Hobbit".
Oh yes, I went there.
Hey, if you like having a good time at the movies go see Hellboy II. It’s no secret, I love Guillermo del Toro – the guy is good. He has one of the most unique visions in film today. Go support this movie because I can’t wait to see how it’s all gonna end.
I’ll see you at the multiplex. Oh, and before I go, after you see the movie if you are not reminded of Tom Cruise when you see the Elf Prince on the screen I’ll buy you a coffee.